KT Tunstall's Acoustic Extravaganza

Studio Album by released in 2006

KT Tunstall's Acoustic Extravaganza review

An Unplugged Album by a Charismatic Performer

KT Tunstall’s new album Acoustic Extravaganza follows her debut album Eye to the Telescope, which has been released in 2004 and with over 3 million copies sold peeked at number 3 in UK top charts. Acoustic Extravaganza shows another side of Tunstall’s music, this time discovering a more country/folk oriented sound. It is an unplugged album, the idea of which sprung up after a life event in Edinburgh; it presents a collection of acoustic versions of new songs and covers of the tracks from Eye to the Telescope. The Scottish singer/songwriter has been often compared to such eminent performers as Sheryl Crow, Jewel, Janis Joplin, Dido (comparison with the latter not arousing too much elation in KT), however, it is obvious that Tunstall has her own style and manner of performance, especially witnessed during her numerous fantastic life shows. This year the singer received three Brit Awards nominations and won the award for Best British Female Solo Artist. KT’s natural charisma is seen throughout the whole album, a smile on her face being transferred to all of her songs.

Acoustic Extravaganza is a Complete Creation

Notwithstanding the fears of the album being sort of a stop, a gap-fill between the first successful studio album and the following one, this collection of works proves to posses its own self-sufficiency. In other words, it is not merely an interpretation of the Eye to the Telescope, it is a complete creation, performed in a more relaxed and wistful way, with compositions smooth and tough at the same time. The country-styled Ashes with its bold lyrics, the bluesy ballad Boo Hoo, the pastoral folk of Gone to the Dogs, and the moving Change are all first-rate. The opener Ashes is a rhythmical composition with rich guitar fills and trumpet highlights at the end, performed in a really dynamic and inspiring atmosphere. The track Golden Age, a unique rendering of Beck’s song, is a wonderfully stunning combination of guitar, drums and bass. The pop-sound of Miniature Disasters is skillfully combined with blues and jazz beats, revealing Tunstall’s desire for self-expression and making the track a real highlight of the record. One of the most impressing compositions of the album is the Change, with KT’s miraculously charming voice accompanied by nothing but her acoustic guitar, creating an immensely beautiful interplay.

Tunstall Attempts to Offer Something Different

What differentiates Acoustic Extravaganza in particular and Tunstall’s music in general, is the use of different musical instruments. Her band’s musician Kenny Dickenson provides most of the instrumental details - trumpet, glockenspiel, organ - that highlight the tracks. Every composition compels by its melodic softness, KT’s breathy delivery and simple but powerful lyrics. The album is an attempt of the singer to offer her fans something different, something intimate, gentle and fun. The singer’s sparkling talent is noticed not only by her fans. Tunstall has been working with such well-known bands and musicians as the Scottish band Travis, Missy Elliott, Radiohead. Suddenly I See, the track from her first album, was used during the opening credits of the 2006 Meryl Streep film The Devil Wears Prada. Currently KT is working on her second studio album proper, due to release in 2007. Taking into account the platinum success of her first studio album, the number of her admirers and the meditating attractiveness of her life album, we should definitely wait for something extraordinary and unique from this undeniably talented performer.